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Podcast: Under the Roof (23): Depression – What Helps Patients?

Heidenheim / Silja Kummer

Doctor Oliver Tornseifer and head of the self-help group Depression Horst Cantarutti say how to deal with mental illness and what helps the sick.

Mental illness depression is widespread and can become life-threatening. That is why it is important to talk to those who are affected as soon as possible. Two experts on the subject in Heidenheim County are physician and psychotherapist Oliver Tornseifer of the Heidenheim Health Department and the head of the Horst Cantarutti Depression Self-Help Group.

In the 23rd episode of the HZ podcast "Unterm Dach", the two talked to editor Silja Kummer about depression. Among other things, it was about suicide, feeling guilty about relatives and the burden of relationships because of illness.



Here are some of the highlights and answers to the podcast topic:

How to identify depression?

He calls Oliver Tornseifer a leading symptom of deep sadness or depression. "Those who are affected no longer feel happy, are susceptible to stress and often no longer have an appetite," he says. Often, sleep disorders are accompanied by depression.

In some life situations it is normal to feel sad. When we talk about depression?

"It depends on the duration and intensity of the feeling," says Tornseifer. After a stressful event such as death or separation, the first thing to say is an adjustment disorder. "It all depends on whether you have enough strength to get beyond this low," he says. Depression should definitely be diagnosed by a doctor. It's not as easy as seeing a broken leg on an X-ray: "You can only recognize this in conversation and based on certain criteria," Tornseifer explains.

What can you do if you have the impression that your relative, friend, or colleague is depressed?

In that case, contact the person in question, says Oliver Tornseifer. He thinks it is very important for the environment to respond to warning signals, because often other people would realize before the person in question that something was wrong. "You also need to make it clear that you cannot find a way out of depression and seek help," the doctor says.

For whom is the Depression Self-Help Group the right place?

"Anyone can come to us whether they are affected or their relatives," says Horst Cantarutti. It also doesn't matter if someone has already been treated for depression or just suspected he may be suffering.

Is it best to treat depression with medication or just psychotherapy?

"Both are possible," says Oliver Tornseifer. Treatment also depends on the severity of the disease: "Severe depression can only be treated at the clinic and with medication," he says. Mild and moderate depression can also be treated on an outpatient basis, with talk therapy and medication, or a combination of both. "It's especially important to create a place for illness," Horst Cantarutti adds. Affected people should feel serious and talk about their feelings. A self-help group could also contribute to this.

How can you tell if someone intends to commit suicide?

"I have experience when you get an answer, if you just ask directly," says Oliver Tornseifer. But even withdrawing and refusing to talk can be indicative. "To make it easier for relatives, you also have to make it very clear that it is unrecognizable when someone makes a suicide plan and hides it," the doctor says.

What should be done if one seems to be suicidal?

"You can call an ambulance in such cases, just like with a heart attack," says Oliver Tornseifer. Those who are acutely suicidal are best in the hands of the clinic, and in an emergency against their will. "Often affected afterwards are happy to have this shelter," says Tornseifer.

Contact persons for the mentally ill and information for relatives can be found at The Depression Self-Help Group meets every second Thursday of the month at 7pm at the AOK-Gesundheitszentrum in Heidenheim. Contact:


Depression, a common illness

8.2 percent According to the German Depression Aid, the German population is diagnosed with depression for a year. That equates to 5.3 million people. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men – or at least more likely to be treated for the disease.

In addition to the depressed mood loss of pleasure and interest, as well as impulses to drive, may also indicate fears or physical problems such as abdominal, head or back pain due to depression. sk